Federated States of Micronesia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
Telecoms infrastructure improvements planned for Micronesia
Similar to other Pacific Islands, Micronesia is at the mercy of natural disasters and environmental changes such as rising sea levels brought about by climate change. The small islands which make up Micronesia have focused on recovery and rebuilding since Typhoon Maysak hit in March 2015. It destroyed precious infrastructure including homes, buildings, crops and telephone poles.
It is these rising concerns regarding climate change that is bringing renewed attention from the global community to many of these small Pacific island nations. The South Pacific is seen as a key region for observing climate changes and in turn, this is leading to some new investments in terms of ICT services and infrastructure in order to supply the appropriate monitoring tools and equipment. In addition, the South Pacific islands are expected to reduce their own environmental impact through the use of alternative energy solutions. Renewable energy solutions and solar power are now being installed in some parts of Micronesia.
Micronesia is also well aware that to ensure a viable future for its citizens it needs to develop its telecoms infrastructure for the associated economic and social benefits. In particular, it is important for the country to have reliable international and domestic communication services in order to further grow its tourism industry.
Micronesia is expected to receive international funding to install fibre-optic cables in two of the states (Yap and Chuuk) as well as improve satellite communications for Kosroe. Satellite technology is very important for the Pacific Islands in order to reach remote areas where other telecoms infrastructure isn't feasible. However, there are limitations with satellite services which can be sometimes unreliable and slow.
In 2016 there are promising developments afoot for Micronesia. The government has developed a National Infrastructure Development Plan 2016-2025 which will see around $13.35 million invested in various infrastructure projects including mobile and fibre-optic technologies.
Key telecom parameters 2013; 2015 Sector | 2013 | 2015 Approximate subscribers to telecoms services: (e) Fixed Broadband subscribers | 2,063 | 3,277 Fixed-line telephony | 10,047 | 6,808 Mobile phone subscribers | 31,400 | 33,400 (Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)
Providing the islands with telephone services is a challenge due to the fact that the area stretches across 1.6 million square kilometres of the western Pacific Ocean. Great distances between islands and their isolated location coupled with mountainous terrain and dense jungle add to the difficulties in deploying cost-effective national communications infrastructure.
In some of the remote atolls of Micronesia there are no mobile phones or Internet access. While a number of obstacles lie in the path of economic progress, vast improvements to the country's deteriorating infrastructure are anticipated in the near future as international funding and aid programs are invested in improving conditions.
In Micronesia, the FSM Telecommunications Corporation (FSMTC) announced it had signed a partnership with Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) in mid 2015 which would allow it to use the ABS C-band satellite capacity to provide Internet connectivity to Pohnpei and the other three states of Yap, Chuuk, and Kosrae as well as one of the nearby islands, Ulithi. The C-band was chosen due to its resilience against interference in times of severe weather. Social and economic benefits are expected as a result of the service which will be accessible to education facilities, government agencies, communities and commercial businesses.
There are plans to connect a spur from Yap to the SEA-US cable system, giving Micronesia access to the global ICT network.
Companies covered in this report include:
FSM Telecom Corporation (FSMTC); Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS); The World Bank, The Asian Development Bank, Huawei, Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL).